Sunday, May 5, 2019

Waselenchuk defeats Carson to win 2019 IRT Syosset Open

Kane Waselenchuk defeated his long time rival Rocky Carson, 15-3, 15-4, to win the 2019 International Racquetball Tour (IRT) Syosset Open. The win assures Waselenchuk that he will finish the 2018-19 IRT season at #1 for the 13th time, which is a record. It’s more than twice as many times as the player with the second most season ending #1 rankings: Cliff Swain, who did it six times.

Waselenchuk said “I knew I had to come out with a better game at the beginning” than how he played in the semi-finals against Andree Parrilla on Saturday, when Waselenchuk lost game one to Parrilla. “Rocky’s been playing well the last couple of tournaments,” said Waselenchuk, so he knew he was in for a battle. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and his game.”

And it was a vintage performance by Waselenchuk, as he was making the creative shots that help separate him from the rest of the field. Also, he served more effectively than he did early against Parrilla. For example, he ended both game one and game two with drive serve aces to the right side.

Afterwards, Waselenchuk related how he and Carson had been talking at their hotel prior to the match. “We were talking about how old we are, and the fact that we’re still able to do this, and we’re still #1 and 2 in the world.” Waselenchuk is 37 and Carson will turn 40 later this month. “When I was 25, 26 years old, if you’d told me I’d be 37 and the #1 player in the world, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” said Waselenchuk.

However, “the belief within myself is tremendous. I believe in myself, and through hard work, it’s happened,” he said. Waselenchuk added he’s “just happy I can still play at a high level like this.”

Final Rankings

The Syosset Open was the last Tier 1 of the 2018-19 IRT season, but there are a few more lower tier events over the next month. However, there will be little change in the rankings from those that come out on Monday and the end of the season. Did anyone help themselves in Syosset?

Alvaro Beltran was ranked 6th coming into the weekend, but less than 6 points behind #5 Daniel De La Rosa. Beltran was a quarterfinalist in Syosset, while De La Rosa lost in the Round of 16, so Beltran should move into the #5 spot. If De La Rosa finishes 6th, it will be the first time he’s out the top 5 since the 2012-13 season, when he was 9th.

Similarly, Samuel Murray and Sebastian Franco were less than 10 points apart, in 7th and 8th, respectively. Murray reached the quarters this weekend, while Franco lost in the 16s, so Murray should finish 7th and Franco 8th. Murray was 8th last season, so he’ll move up one spot this season, while Franco will be two spots lower, after being 6th last season.

There won’t likely be any other ranking changes based from this weekend. Waselenchuk will finish #1, Carson #2, and then Alejandro Landa will be #3 and Parrilla #4. Beltran will round out the top 5. The next five should be De La Rosa in 6th, Murray 7th, Franco 8th, and Rodrigo Montoya in 9th and Mario Mercado in 10th.

The IRT plans to announce its 2019-20 season schedule in early June. If you missed the Syosset Open final, you can watch via the IRT YouTube channel or the IRT Facebook page.

2019 IRT Syosset Open, May 2-5, 2019
Syosset, New York

Final - Saturday

1) Kane Waselenchuk d. 2) Rocky Carson, 15-3, 15-4

Follow the bouncing ball….

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